Tent Shopping Guide

The Standard:


Three-season hikers who stick to forest campsites should consider a two-person tent with two or three poles, plentiful mesh, and a vestibule that shelters the main entrance. Factory seam taping, a bathtub floor, and a full-coverage rainfly are desirable features, as is a trail weight of 4 to 6 pounds.

Variables:


Are you or your hiking partner very tall? You might prefer a three-person tent. Do you often hike in nasty weather? Look for a big vestibule (or two) for storage and cooking.

Tarp Or Tent?


Tarps and teepees can withstand almost any weather when tautly pitched, providing ample shelter and space for little weight. But you'll need to practice pitching and find sites with secure staking or guying options. For buggy trips, look for mesh sidewalls or a clip-in mesh canopy.

Going Solo?


Bivy sacks generally weigh only about 2 pounds, but offer limited space and ventilation. Single-person tents provide more camp comfort at around twice the weight.

Return to Backpacking 101 home